Novelty night out

August 25, 2006

Got back into Quito today from ghost town Pintag. Caught the wrong bus – twice. But managed to get here.

Popped down to Spanish with Silvana (my incredibly dry witted Ecuadorian teacher) and when that was done popped in for a little coffee at Cafecito (there’s a joke there if you understand Spanish). Tony, one of the two owners, was there and invited me to chat with him whilst he finished downloading the evenings choice Latin American Music to play in the bar. (Diff theme music each night).

Tony tells lots of stories. He has plenty in his quasi Canadian-English-Jamaican-Ecuadorian history and the typical story length is 15-20 minutes. So we got through a few of those, some black tea (made from leaves – lovely) and some buns and carrot cake. Very civilised out here you know.  

I had a smidgen of a plan to go along at 6pm to the South American Explorers club (or lonely buggers stuck in South America club), which was doing some slide show and talk on different places to visit in Ecuador and further afield. Anyway, tea and cakes with Tony took rather longer than planned and it was nearly 8 when I left.

Not wanting to come home to the empty flat, I headed from the main road and flagged down a cab and headed off to the aforementioned lonely persons club. The lights were on, and the talk was still in progress. Actually it was about done, but I was just in time for a beer. (Large Pilsners, brewed in Ecuador are the order of the day out here. The bottle’s a bit bigger than a Newkie Brown and a challenge for a girl to handle, but it’s decent lager).

Spoke to a few peeps, but largely a lot of politically correct and right-on Americans were in attendance. Many with with corn row hair dos, out here because they were, like, in a messed up place, like, mentally, and needed to, like, sort their heads out.  Whatever.

As a result of not being American or in a difficult place mentally I also got talking to an English couple, Sue and Colin. A really nice couple who’d taken a year off work to travel around the World, spending 5 months in South America. Colin works for Cap Gemini at home and works on the NRS (National Rail System, if I’ve got that right – basically the back end for trainline’s system as used by MML and others), so we had an interesting chat about that. Sue’s a regular commuter from Solihull to London and even knew all about the new line recently granted to Grand Central Rail. Small World.

Both in their 40s they had had a restaurant recommended to them in the Old Town by their Spanish teacher. And so I accepted their kind invitation to go with them for a bite to eat.

(First Tim, then Sue and Colin, I fear in 6 months I’ll have an address book full of people I met once in Ecuador).

Anyway, so a short taxi ride later, we get to this restaurant up on the 5th floor, where you can sit outside on a terrace and see all the flood lit domes of colonial churches and monuments and guess what… you’ll never guess… my Spanish just blossomed (or I thought it did anyway). And I think I did quite well with the doorman, waitress and bargaining with the taxi driver. (Still pretty shabby though all in all).

It’s all down to the hair. Long dark hair must equal Spanish or Ecuadorian, and locals just keep talking to me. It’s quite difficult actually as 90% of the time I don’t have a clue what they’re saying and I don’t want to appear rude. So I keep trying and am getting more and more words. Failing that, I just smile and say Si. It seems to work.

After some tourist photos of the night’s view from our restaurant (pizza and beer – did I say what a lovely, lovely place this was) and after checking with our waitress that the local area is safe, we head of for a walk in the Plaza Grande, which is given over to statues and stuff about Ecuador’s fight for independence from Spain. Initially heading the wrong way, a doorman advises to go left not right otherwise we’ll get *mime of someone having their throat slit*. Nice. Didn’t see anything like that thankfully.

Plaza very pretty, made up of wedding cake sorts of buildings all with big domes. (Again promised myself that I must go and visit properly in the day time).

Finally got a taxi home from the corner of the Plaza. Newly acquired top bargaining skills got the taxi driver own from $4 to $3, however, I then got a bit lost on the way home and felt guilty bound to give him another 50c in tip. Hey ho, going through money like water out here – need some more guest tours for some tips and to keep me from spending cash!

Off to bed now, much love

Shirl

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